Conquering the Nut Run: The Ultimate Guide to Squirrel Hunting Gear

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Prepare for a successful squirrel hunting season with our comprehensive guide to essential gear, from firearms and camouflage to calls and game processing tools. Learn how to choose the right equipment for your location and target species, ensuring an ethical and rewarding experience.

Squirrel hunting, a time-honored tradition in North America, offers a unique blend of challenge, reward, and connection with nature. Whether you’re a seasoned outdoorsman or just starting, having the proper gear is paramount to a successful and enjoyable hunt.

This guide delves into the essential equipment for squirrel hunting, from firearms and ammunition to camouflage and comfort essentials. We’ll explore the best options for different hunting styles and target species, helping you gear up for a productive squirrel season.

Firearms and Ammunition for Squirrel Hunting

The cornerstone of your squirrel hunting setup is your firearm. Two primary choices dominate the landscape: rimfire rifles and shotguns.

  1. Rimfire Rifles: Offering exceptional accuracy and lower noise levels, rimfire rifles like the classic .22 LR are ideal for hunting squirrels. Popular options include the Ruger 10/22, Marlin Model 390, and CZ 452. When selecting a rimfire rifle, consider factors like weight, barrel length, and ease of handling.
  2. Shotguns: For hunters comfortable with a scattergun approach, shotguns chambered for .410 bore or 20 gauge shells are suitable choices. Opt for shot sizes #4 to #6, depending on the distance to your targets and local regulations.
  3. Ammunition: Choose high-quality hollow-point ammunition in .22 LR for rimfire rifles. For shotguns, select shells loaded with shot sizes #4 to #6, offering a balance of lethality and minimal damage to the surrounding meat. Always prioritize responsible shot placement for a clean kill.

Optics for Squirrel Hunting

While not mandatory, a good scope can significantly enhance your accuracy and overall hunting experience.

Here’s what to consider for squirrel hunting optics:

  1. Rimfire Scopes: Look for a variable-power scope with low-end magnification (3x or 4x) for quick target acquisition in close quarters, and higher magnification (up to 9x) for longer shots.
  2. Shotgun Sights: While most shotguns come equipped with bead sights, some hunters prefer red dot sights for faster target acquisition.

Squirrel Hunting Camouflage and Comfort

Blending in with the environment is crucial for successful squirrel hunting. Invest in a quality camouflage outfit that blends seamlessly with your hunting grounds. Opt for natural earth tones like brown, green, and tan, and consider patterns that mimic leaves and branches.

Comfort is equally important for extended hunts. Choose breathable clothing that matches the expected weather conditions. Layer your clothing for optimal temperature regulation, and prioritize comfortable footwear with good traction for navigating uneven terrain.

Here are some key squirrel-hunting clothing and footwear options:

  1. Camouflage Clothing: Look for hunting apparel made from breathable materials like cotton or synthetic blends. Popular camouflage patterns include Realtree Xtra Green, Mossy Oak Break-Up Infinity, and Kryptek Highlander.
  2. Boots: Choose sturdy hunting boots with good ankle support and waterproof capabilities. Consider insulated boots for colder weather hunts.
  3. Gloves: Protect your hands from scratches and the elements with lightweight camouflage gloves.

Squirrel Calls and Hunting Decoys

Squirrel calls can be an effective tool to lure wary squirrels closer.

Popular options for squirrel hunting calls and decoys include the following:

  1. Primos Squirrel Buster Call: Mimics the distress calls of young squirrels, attracting curious adults.
  2. Fox Squirrel Distress Call: Entices territorial fox squirrels seeking to investigate the source of the sound.
  3. Cackle Calls: Replicate the feeding chatter of squirrels, encouraging them to reveal their location.

While less common, squirrel decoys can also add a visual element to attract squirrels.

Game Processing Tools for Squirrel Hunting

Once you’ve successfully harvested your squirrels, proper processing ensures you can enjoy the fruits of your labor. Here are some essential tools:

  1. Sharp Knife: A high-quality, sharp knife is crucial for field dressing and skinning squirrels.
  2. Cutting Board:  A sturdy cutting board provides a clean surface for processing your game.
  3. Game Bags: Breathable mesh game bags allow for proper ventilation and prevent spoilage.

Squirrel Hunting Tips

  1. Hunting License and Permits: Always obtain the necessary hunting licenses and permits for your specific area.
  2. Hunting Regulations: Familiarize yourself with local squirrel hunting regulations, including bag limits and shooting hours.
  3. Safety Gear: Prioritize safety by wearing blaze orange during hunting season, as required by regulations in most areas.
  4. First-Aid Kit: Pack a basic first-aid kit in case of minor injuries on your hunting trip.

Purchase All Your Squirrel Hunting Gear In One Place!

Now that you’re equipped with the knowledge to choose the perfect squirrel hunting gear, it’s time to gear up for success! Head over to Amazon, a vast online retailer offering a wide selection of top-rated hunting equipment from trusted brands. With competitive prices, convenient delivery options, and extensive customer reviews, is a one-stop shop for all your squirrel hunting needs.

Here are some popular categories to explore on

  1. Firearms: Browse a comprehensive selection of rimfire rifles, shotguns, and ammunition suitable for squirrel hunting.
  2. Optics: Find the perfect scope for your rimfire rifle or red dot sights to enhance your shotgun’s usability.
  3. Camouflage Clothing: Discover a wide array of camouflage apparel options in various patterns and sizes to ensure you blend seamlessly into the environment.
  4. Boots and Footwear: Explore a vast selection of hunting boots designed for comfort, support, and traction on various terrains.
  5. Calls and Decoys: Find a variety of squirrel calls to attract your target species and consider adding decoys for an extra edge.
  6. Game Processing: Equip yourself with essential tools like sharp knives, cutting boards, and game bags to properly process your harvest.

Remember: Responsible hunting practices are paramount. Always prioritize ethical shot placement, be mindful of local regulations, and respect the environment you’re hunting in. With the right gear, knowledge, and respect, you’re well on your way to a successful and rewarding squirrel hunting season!

Happy Hunting!

Squirrel Hunting Gear Comparison Chart

CategoryRimfire RifleShotgunOptics (Rimfire)Optics (Shotgun)Camouflage ClothingBootsCallsDecoys
Primary AdvantageAccuracy, Lower NoiseVersatility, Close-RangeImproved Target AcquisitionFaster Target AcquisitionBlending in with EnvironmentComfort & TractionLuring Squirrels CloserVisual Attraction
Ideal Calibers/Shot Sizes.22 LR.410 Bore, 20 GaugeN/AN/AEarth Tones (Brown, Green, Tan)Consider Insulation for Cold WeatherDistress Calls, Cackle CallsLimited Use
Popular OptionsRuger 10/22, Marlin Model 390, CZ 452N/AVariable Power (3x-9x)Red Dot SightsRealtree Xtra Green, Mossy Oak Break-Up Infinity, Kryptek HighlanderHiking Boots, Hunting BootsPrimos Squirrel Buster Call, Fox Squirrel Distress CallSquirrel Decoys (Less Common)
Things to ConsiderWeight, Barrel Length, Ease of HandlingN/ALow-End Magnification for Close QuartersN/ABreathable Materials, Layer for Temperature RegulationAnkle Support, WaterproofingEffectiveness for Target SpeciesEffectiveness as Attractant
Squirrel hunting equipment comparison table.

Additional Notes:

  • This chart provides a general comparison, and specific choices may vary depending on your hunting style, budget, and local regulations.
  • Always prioritize ethical shot placement and responsible hunting practices.
  • Consider factors like terrain and weather conditions when selecting your gear.

Squirrel Hunting Gear FAQs

What’s the best caliber for squirrel hunting?

The undisputed champion for squirrel hunting is the .22 LR rimfire cartridge. It offers exceptional accuracy at close to mid-range distances, minimal noise disturbance, and limited bullet damage to the surrounding meat.

Can I use a larger caliber rifle for squirrel hunting?

While technically possible, using a larger caliber rifle for squirrels is generally not recommended. The higher power of these rounds can lead to excessive meat damage, and the increased noise can spook other squirrels in the area. Stick to a .22 LR for a clean and efficient harvest.

Shotgun vs. Rifle: Which is better for squirrel hunting?

Both rifles and shotguns have their merits for squirrel hunting. Rimfire rifles offer superior accuracy, making them ideal for precise shot placement. Shotguns, on the other hand, provide more versatility, allowing for multiple pellet strikes at close range, especially effective for moving targets.

Do I need a scope for squirrel hunting?

While not essential, a scope can significantly enhance your accuracy and overall hunting experience, particularly for longer shots or in low-light conditions. For rimfire rifles, consider a variable-power scope with low-end magnification for quick target acquisition and higher magnification for more precise aiming.

What type of camouflage clothing should I wear?

Opt for camouflage clothing that blends in with your hunting environment. Popular patterns include Realtree Xtra Green, Mossy Oak Break-Up Infinity, and Kryptek Highlander. Choose breathable materials like cotton or synthetic blends, and prioritize layering for temperature regulation during the hunt.

Are calls and decoys effective for squirrel hunting?

Squirrel calls can be a valuable tool to attract curious or territorial squirrels closer. Popular options include distress calls and feeding chatter sounds. Hunting decoys, while less common, can also add a visual element to attract squirrels. Remember, effectiveness can vary depending on the specific call used and the hunting pressure in your area.

How do I process a squirrel after harvesting it?

Once you’ve successfully harvested your squirrel, proper field dressing ensures the meat stays fresh. Invest in a sharp knife for skinning and cleaning the animal. A cutting board provides a clean surface for processing, and breathable mesh game bags allow for proper ventilation and prevent spoilage.

What safety precautions should I take while squirrel hunting?

Safety is paramount. Always wear blaze orange during hunting season as required by most regulations. Be aware of your surroundings and maintain safe firearm handling practices at all times. Pack a basic first-aid kit in case of minor injuries.

Where can I buy good quality squirrel hunting gear?

Many online retailers, like Amazon, and outdoor stores offer a wide selection of squirrel-hunting equipment.  This guide provides a general overview, and it’s always recommended to research specific products and brands before making a purchase.

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